NOHVCC Newsletter - June 2016 edition
A “Great Trails” Special Edition
Read the other NOHVCC newsletter issues
In this Issue:
Great Trails Workshops Energize Agencies And Enthusiasts In Montana, Minnesota
by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer
Great things happen when you attend a NOHVCC Great Trails Workshop.
For three days, off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders focus on trail issues with their state and federal OHV program managers and land managers. Members of dirt bike, ATV and 4WD truck clubs share ideas to improve rider experiences. State and federal land managers compare notes. And over the course of the Workshop, everyone learns how to plan, design, create and maintain Great Trails...together.
The first NOHVCC Great Trails Workshops of 2016 were held in Helena, Montana, on May 17-19, and Akeley, Minnesota, on June 14-16. Forty people attended each, spending one day in a classroom, and two days in the field. It rained during both Workshops, but that didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for a minute.
The two groups were the first outdoor Workshop participants to use a new, 364-page, fully illustrated, resource guide published by NOHVCC, titled Great Trails: Providing Quality OHV Trails and Experiences. “The Great Trails book is a big addition this year,” said Marc Hildesheim, NOHVCC Project Manager, and presenter at both Workshops. “Each participant gets a copy, which serves as their textbook for the Workshop. As we discuss things we can tell people to go to a certain chapter, which is really helpful.”
Both Workshops featured Dick Dufourd, the author of Great Trails, as the main presenter. He worked for the U.S. Forest Service for 35 years. In 2005, he and his wife Joani formed RecConnect LLC, an OHV consulting business that provides turn-key trail project management, and has implemented more than 1,800 miles of OHV trails in the U.S. and Canada.
Positive and engaged at Helena
Attending the Helena Great Trails Workshop were members of local motorcycle and ATV clubs, land managers and OHV program managers from Montana, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and a local contractor. “It was a really fun group,” said Hildesheim. “They were positive and engaged the whole time, even though it was raining, cold and muddy. Dick is passionate about the subject matter, which helps keep everyone’s attention.
“This was a unique workshop in that we had Margie Tatro from Reineke Construction (Sandia Park, New Mexico) as a presenter. She brought a non-motorized perspective to the trail layout, design and maintenance considerations. In Montana, all motorized trails are also open to hiking, biking and equestrian. We want to make sure that, as land managers and volunteers, we are creating the best possible trail for all users. Her technical expertise is outstanding, and she brought a lot of positive energy to the Workshop.
“It was a great collaboration of all the agencies, Montana State Parks and volunteers. We had great facilities at Helena College. The Clancy Unionville OHV Area, supplied by the BLM, was the perfect trail system to show what’s working and what could be improved, and do some trail design.”
Paul Bunyan-sized energy at Akeley
The single-track trails at the Martineau Trail System, located in Minnesota’s Paul Bunyan Forest, are over 50 years old. Many of the ATV trails in the same area, called the Round River Drive Trails, were originally logging roads. Multiple issues needed tackling on both OHV trail systems, located near Akeley, and that was the spark that led to a Great Trails Workshop.
The event brought together two ATV clubs and a dirt bike club that maintain those trails through the state’s OHV Grant-In-Aid Program. Also attending were the land commissioner from Hubbard County (the clubs’ funding sponsor), members of nine additional OHV clubs, and 20 people from the Minnesota DNR, including land managers, OHV program managers, trail technicians and its “roving crew” of trail builders.
The energetic and positive chatter started before the classroom session even began, and continued for 3 days.
“Getting riders, clubs and agencies together, all talking about issues, is the purpose of the NOHVCC Workshops,” said Dufourd. “It takes work to establish partnerships and trust, but it’s worth the effort.”
Day 1: Classroom presentations and discussion
The Helena and Akeley Great Trails Workshops followed a similar agenda. The classroom session includes hundreds of photographs of trail systems across the U.S. and Canada, and some outstanding success stories, all delivered with positive energy. Topics include:
- What Makes A Great Trail Great?
- OHV Management Fundamentals, including the 4Es (Engineering, Education, Enforcement and Evaluation)
- OHV Trail Planning Principles
- What Is Sustainability?
- Engineering 101
- Trail Layout and Design
- How Do I Know If I Have A Problem? (with some attention-getting photos)
- The Critical Role of Maintenance
- The Importance of Partnerships And Effective Communication
Dufourd, Hildesheim and the other presenters, including Joani Dufourd of RecConnect LLC; Jack Terrell, NOHVCC Senior Project Manager; and local OHV advocates, are life-long OHV enthusiasts, with a passion for passing on their experience in planning, designing, creating, maintaining, and riding Great Trails.
Day 2: Riding and reviewing
After an outdoor presentation of the items Dufourd packs when planning and flagging trails, everyone got a close look at trail-building equipment, including Sweco and Sutter trail dozers, an excavator, chainsaws, brushers and trimmers. Then the group of 40 rode motorcycles, ATVs and ROVs (side-by-sides) out to locations on the trail system. Led by Dufourd, they stopped to look at trailheads and parking areas, different types of trails, and areas where improvements could be made in trail engineering (water control features, changes in trail geometry for rider “flowmentum”), trail education (width-limiting structures, signage of all kinds), and adding more “Wow” to trail rider experiences.
Day 3: Closing, creating and flagging
The second Field Day is all about putting to work what has been learned in the classroom and on the first field day. Trail dozers, excavators and other trail building equipment go into action. At the Akeley Workshop, the Trail Management Objective was to transform a single-track trail that had been straightened by logging and traveled down a fall line, into a serpentine trail. Flagged in advance by the Dufourds, the trail reroute would shed water early and often, and create good rider flow. Everyone watched the pros move dirt, closing the old trail, and placing trail anchors, including a large boulder, in just the right spot. When the trail was roughed in, everyone walked it to feel the flow and see the water-shedding design features. The locally based, Paul Bunyan Forest Riders Motorcycle Club would do the finishing work and map the new trail section. At the Helena Workshop, participants got to ride the new trail as well.
After lunch, attendees were divided into small groups, each assigned an area to plan and flag a new section of trail, using the information they had learned. Everyone then walked the flagged trails, each group explaining their grade reversals and water-shedding features, with a critique from Dufourd, group discussion, and a round of applause for each group’s efforts.
Presenters encouraged by participation and enthusiasm
Looking back on the two Great Trails Workshops, the presenters were encouraged by the enthusiasm and participation of all those who attended, and their desire to improve communication between agencies and user groups.
“We were able to reinforce a lot of what they knew about trail design, construction and maintenance, and they were receptive to new information and techniques,” said Terrell. “We knew communication was an issue at Akeley, and that’s common everywhere,” added Hildesheim. “One thing we accomplished was showing the importance of having Travel Management Objectives in place, to provide specific communication from the decision makers at the DNR office, all the way down to the clubs and the maintenance staff out in the field.”
Said Dufourd, “The things we saw at these two workshops, we see everywhere. And the tools we provide will help you improve the OHV trails you have, and build new trails...Great Trails.”
In Helena, the NOHVCC Great Trails Workshop was held in conjunction with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the USFS Region 1 (both funding sponsors), and the Montana State Office of the BLM. The NOHVCC Akeley Workshop was held in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and made possible with funding from the Federal Highway Administration, Recreational Trails Program.
To learn about future Great Trails Workshops being planned, and to organize one in your area, visit the NOHVCC website at www.nohvcc.org.
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“Great Trails” Book, And Iowa Trail System Based On It, Win CRT Awards
by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer
Winners were announced for the 2016 “Annual Achievement Awards" in recognition of outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds. The awards are part of annual efforts by national trails and outdoor recreation organizations to promote the importance of RTP funding to States across America.
The awards ceremony, hosted by the Coalition for Recreational Trails, was held in Washington, D.C., on June 8, 2016,
The envelope please...and the winners are:
1. In the category “Education and Communication”: “Great Trails: Providing Quality OHV Trails and Experiences” -- a new NOHVCC resource guide, and
2. In the category “Public-Private Partnerships Enhancing Public Lands Access and Use”: Gypsum City OHV Park, Fort Dodge, Iowa.
“It wasn’t just a coincidence that the Great Trails book and the Gypsum City OHV Park both won awards this year,” said Dan Kleen, NOHVCC president. “Many of the steps in the book for designing an OHV Park and the tools to build it were used at Gypsum City. Dick Dufourd was the author of the book, and Dick and Joani of RecConnect LLC laid out the trail system for Phase II at the park. It was neat that both of these projects won. At the awards ceremony, a group of us went up to receive the awards at the same time.”
The 364-page Great Trails book was released last October during the joint conference of NOHVCC and the International Off-Highway Vehicle Administrators Association (INOHVAA). Four years in the making, it was crafted by one industry expert, with assistance from 20 more, and funded by 30 OHV agencies and organizations.
The opening page describes the book as “A resource guide for the design, planning, construction, maintenance, and management of quality off-highway vehicle trail systems which are sustainable and fun to ride.”
The Gypsum City OHV Park is the largest public riding area in Iowa and serves as a premier riding opportunity for all ability levels. Over $5.5 million dollars has been invested in the facility during the last 10 years. Located southwest of the City of Fort Dodge, Iowa, the 800-acre OHV Park serves as a destination for ATVs, off-highway motorcycles, off-road vehicles, and snowmobile riders, as well as other outdoor enthusiasts from across Iowa and the Midwest. The Park is a partnership of the Iowa DNR, Webster County Improvement Corporation (WCIC), Webster County Conservation Board, City of Fort Dodge, Iowa OHV Association, and NOHVCC. WCIC owns and leases the property for the OHV Park.
“It is important to have OHV projects that are part of this national award program,” said Karen Umphress, NOHVCC IT and Program Manager. “It legitimizes our sport and ensures that members of Congress know that OHV riders are doing great things.”
To learn more about Great Trails, how to get a copy sent to you or how to download it, go to www.greatohvtrails.com. To learn more about these and other projects that won 2016 CRT Awards, visit http://www.americantrails.org/awards/CRT16awards/index.html.
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Workshop Sets The Foundation For New ATV Club To Build Great Trails
by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer
“Building a trail is like building a house. If the framing is off just a little, it will cost you big time later when it’s time to put in the plumbing and finishing.”
That’s one of the major things Nick Sutich said he learned, after attending a 3-day NOHVCC Great Trails Workshop in Akeley, Minnesota. Held in mid-June, in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Workshop impressed on Sutich the importance of properly planning, designing and creating off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails, in order to minimize maintenance costs once the trail is opened.
Sutich and Rich Kingston, who also came to the Workshop, are members of Voyageurs Country ATV, a new club in northern Minnesota. Both are retired, long-time friends and co-owners of property used for deer hunting. They joined the ATV club in hopes of being able to ride their ATVs from their property to trail systems and Forest Roads open to OHVs, instead of trailering to them. They are new to ATV clubs, and to OHV advocacy, but saw the need to get involved. “My idea for the club is cooperating with the Minnesota DNR, whatever it takes, to get more trails built,” Sutich said at the start of the Workshop. “I’d like to be able to leave Cook on my four-wheeler or side-by-side, and end up in Crane Lake or International Falls (80 miles away). Not necessarily on county roads, but like the snowmobile trail system in northern Minnesota, on trails in the woods, that’s my idea for the future.”
Voyageur Country ATV was one of 12 OHV clubs represented at the Workshop. Just a year old, it has over 700 members. It partnered with St. Louis County on a pilot project, opening a county road to ATVs, and installing speed limit and “Share The Road” signs to let motorists know they might encounter ATVs. The project was successful. The club then joined other groups and lobbied to open all county roads to ATVs. Last month, St. Louis County commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance making it legal for ATVs to operate on the right shoulder or extreme right side of county roads, provided the driver follows all state statues for speed and safety. Half the county’s 3,000 miles of roads have a gravel surface and an average daily traffic count of less than 200 vehicles. It is already legal for ROVs (side-by-sides) to drive on the far right side of county roads throughout Minnesota, unless prohibited by local government units.
But what Voyageur Country ATV really wants is to build a designated ATV trail system that winds its way through the pine forests of far northern Minnesota. Attending the NOHVCC Great Trails Workshop gave Sutich and Kingston the opportunity to meet other clubs, NOHVCC staff, and the Minnesota DNR’s “roving crew” who build trails across the state and know the club’s area very well. It also provided them with valuable information they brought back to their club and will use in the future. “Everything we learned makes you stop and think about your riding area and how to make it better,” said Sutich. “Shed water early, shed it often, that’s really important. Do it right the first time, and you’ll prevent a lot of maintenance problems later.”
Fellow club-member Rich Kingston, agrees. “If you know these things and you work with the DNR, it’s very helpful,” he said. “Everything starts with a good foundation. Without that you have nothing.”
“Stay on the trail or stay home”
During the classroom session, there was plenty of discussion on many topics presented (see accompanying article in this newsletter). One photo in particular got the attention of all the user groups, who agreed that it would send a message to less-than-responsible OHV riders, to not jeopardize all the time, energy and hard work that go into building and maintaining OHV trails. Said Sutich, who hopes to be planning an ATV trail system in the future, “Stay on the trail or stay home. I really like that sign.”
In addition to Voyageur Country ATV, also attending the Akeley Workshop were members of the Paul Bunyan Forest Riders Motorcycle Club, Akeley Paul Bunyan ATV Trailriders, Timberland Dirt Devils Club, Straight Arrow Enduro Riders, Woodtick Wheelers ATV/OHM Club, Twin Cities Trail Riders, Norsemen Motorcycle Club, Range Riders ATV Club, Runestone Off-Road ATV Riders (ROAR), Up North Riders ATV Club, and Cook County ATV Club.
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Woodticks & Dirt Snacks: The Lighter Side Of NOHVCC Workshops
by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer
“What are the 4 E’s?” Dick Dufourd shouted out to the group, halfway through the classroom session of a Great Trails Workshop. “Engineering, Education, Enforcement, Evaluation!” they shouted back. “What are the 3 S’s to manage water?” continued Dufourd. “Shed early. Shed often. Shed for sure!”
No matter what your day job is, you’ve probably been to a “training seminar” or “educational workshop” that was duller than ditchwater. A Great Trails Workshop, while it may include a discussion about ditchwater, is anything but dull.
Granted, Great Trails Workshops include technical information. There is some geometry involved, and tools, like a clinometer for measuring trail grade. But at every workshop there are also plenty of off-highway vehicles to ride during the field days. The Great Trails resource guide, written by Dufourd, serves as the textbook during the workshop. It has lots of tables, charts and graphs. But you won’t see many, if any, during the classroom portion. Presenters avoid them. Instead, they deliver an energized overview of what it takes to plan, design, create and maintain off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails that provide quality rider experiences, with a big “Wow factor”, and are “sustainable” in every sense of the word.
Watch for flying Tootsie Rolls!
Dick and Joani Dufourd, of RecConnect LLC, NOHVCC staff members Marc Hildesheim and Jack Terrell, and other presenters at Great Trails Workshops are passionate about riding, and equally passionate about sharing their riding and trail-building experiences. In the classroom settings at recent workshops in Helena, MT, and Akeley, MN, Dufourd, the main presenter, kept the groups engaged by doing two things. One, making the day equal parts presentation and discussion. And two, flinging Tootsie Rolls and other candies to those who were first to answer questions he tossed out to the group. Doze off and you could end up with a gumdrop in your ear.
A Great Trails Workshop is one day in the classroom, and two days riding OHVs on designated trail systems, stopping here and there to discuss outstanding trail features, and places where improvements could be made in parking, kiosks, trail signs, shedding water and improving trail flow. Three days of positive information sharing...and fun. Here are few of the lighter moments from recent Great Trails Workshops.
“Dirt Snacks” -- Margie Tatro, of Reineke Construction, Sandia Park, NM, made “dirt snacks” for everyone at the Helena Workshop. They were cookie bars with different layers, cut into individual pieces, in plastic wrap. She had the workshop participants press on top of the wrap and watch as the soil (cookie) and rocks (nuts) would displace or compact. It was a new way to talk about the forces of compaction and displacement of the trail tread. And tasty to boot.
“Scenic Route Gone Bad” -- Reports Hildesheim: “Another entertaining moment at Helena was when our local BLM trail guide led half the group on a more “scenic route” to get to the next discussion location. Half the class followed someone whose name will be withheld (but rhymes with Crad Bolin), who lead the group back to the parking lot. They had to play catch-up to join the rest of the group at the opposite end of the trail system.”
“I want to check you for ticks” -- Members of the Woodtick Wheelers ATV/OHM Club attended the Akeley Workshop. During lunch, their club’s mascot, a 6 ft. 4 in. Woodtick named Woodrow, entertained everyone, doing a little dance to the music of Brad Paisley’s song: “Ticks.”
“Fun facts to know and tell” -- Everyone has something to contribute. “Did you know,” asked one rider as we inspected an eroded intersection, “that 1 inch of rain falling on 1 acre of land equals 27,000 gallons of water?” We do now...thanks!
“What’s up in that tree?” -- At an intersection of an ATV and a single-track trail, someone pointed up into the trees. There, hanging from a branch, was a ladies undergarment. “Is that a big Wow! or a little Wow!” someone asked? Forty men and women, standing in the rain, laughing, looking up at a bra in a tree.
“Ja shoor you betcha.” -- Finally, being in the Paul Bunyan Forest, the small town of Akeley has a tall statue of the famous lumberjack. Like the one featured in the movie “Fargo.” Said one of the Minnesota riders at the end of the 3-day event, complete with an accent right out of the movie:
“Ja shoor, you betcha, dat was one heckuva Great Trails Workshop.”
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Mixed Gear Bag
You know we have to be creative in our titles. Miscellaneous is too normal and
potpourri doesn't sound very rider like. Below are up-coming events and other
assorted items of interest.
SAVE THE DATE!
The 2016 annual NOHVCC conference will be in Great Falls again this year, but at a new hotel and season. The conference will be located at the Best Western Heritage Inn Oct 11 - 16. Of course, we will still have the riding at the ranch.
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Letter from Cam Lockwood to NOHVCC:
I have been involved with NOHVCC even before it had a name change. It all started back when MIC was part of SVIA and MSF. I worked with Mark, Paul, Raul and several others to travel around the country doing workshops about providing better designed and managed OHV concepts. Boy, can I tell you stories!! Anyway, many years later, Tom Crimmins, Paul Slavik, and myself got together to discuss what needed to be the next step up. This meeting took place about a year before NOHVCC was born.
I can remember doing many workshops over the years, but the most memorable was when I introduced the original trail machine, the "Morrison Trail Blazer", then the ACUTrack and eventually the SWECO 450 and today, Sutter's 500, 300 and SWECO's 480. NOHVCC was the first organization that embraced "mechanized trail contruction & maintenance".
Many of the OHV management concepts were born out of the proverbial "think tanks" revolved around the NOHVCC "collective" organization.
Personally, the name "Trails Unlimited" would not be a reality today if it had not been for the people working with me and trusting that we had good ideals in providing for and managing OHV opportunities for future generations. If it weren't for people like Russ, Dana, Karen, Tom, Jack, Ann and the multitude of dedicated people, this sport would have died many years ago.
Editor's note: Thank you Cam and the multitude of people who have supported us throughout the years and the multitudes who work tirelessly to create a positive future for OHV recreation; which gives us the content for this newsletter.